WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management mourns the passing of Professor Horst Albach, a man who played a key role in preparing and supporting its founding in 1984 and who constantly drove forward the school’s development and expansion. As one of six professors in the university's Founding Senate, Horst Albach was one of the leading figures in the conception and development of the private WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, which was situated in Koblenz at that time. "WHU owes Horst Albach a lot. We are deeply saddened," said Professor Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. "Together with his colleagues in the Founding Senate and on the Board of Trustees of the WHU Foundation, Horst Albach has made it possible that today there is a business school of international standing in Vallendar, Rhineland-Palatinate, and in Düsseldorf, where hundreds of talented young people are trained to be business leaders in German and international companies or to found their own companies." Indeed, the pioneers of WHU demonstrated a great deal of courage and commitment. For the landscape of higher education landscape in Germany in the 1980s, the concept of a private business school was quite new and came with considerable risk.
Horst Albach's achievements were not limited to his involvement in the founding of WHU. He was also a highly respected academic, with nine universities, including WHU, having awarded him honorary doctorates. As a member of the German Council of Science and Humanities, the German Council of Economic Experts ("Wirtschaftsweise"), and the Government Commission on the Privatization of German Railways, as well as through his work on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics, he advised federal governments on economic issues for almost forty years. Albach was also active on important boards of well-known German companies.
"Courage and commitment, as demonstrated by Horst Albach, were already the core values of WHU at its foundation in the 1980s," said Dean Rudolf. "They are still the DNA of WHU today, and we will always uphold these values and the memory of this outstanding man and continue to move forward as an institution with courageous steps."
Born in 1931 in Essen an der Ruhr, Albach initially studied business administration, economics, and law at the University of Cologne. In 1956, he became an assistant to Professor Erich Gutenberg, whose daughter he later married. In 1960, after his habilitation in business administration and positions as a private lecturer in Graz and Kiel, he taught for almost thirty years at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn. He then continued his work at the Free University of Berlin and, after German reunification, helped to establish the Faculty of Economics at the Humboldt University of Berlin. From 1987 to 1990, he held the endowed chair of "International Management" at WHU. Visiting professorships took him to numerous other countries. From 1990 on, Horst Albach had been an honorary professor at WHU.
Professor Albach's outstanding commitment to the Federal Republic of Germany was honored in 2001 with the "Great Cross of Merit with Star". He is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Other nations also honored him with awards. In 2000, for his contributions to science, Albach became the only economist to date to be awarded the Order "Pour le Mérite."